Would you like a beautiful smile – quickly, affordably, and with minimal discomfort and inconvenience? Are you ready to make your chipped, uneven, crooked, overlapping and stained teeth disappear in as few as three trips to your dentist? Then it sounds like you’re the perfect candidate for dental veneers!

What Is a Dental Veneer?

By definition, a veneer is a thin, decorative covering. A dental veneer is a thin (~1/4″) porcelain shell that is bonded to the surface of lightly etched natural teeth. A veneer feels just like natural teeth, is virtually indistinguishable from them, and completely obscures any imperfect, damaged or discolored underlying teeth.

With proper care, a dental veneer can easily last for as long as a decade – and perhaps even longer. Better yet, dental veneer maintenance is easy! All you need to do is practice good oral hygiene, which should come naturally since people with dental veneers care about their appearance, as well as take a few added precautions that will help protect your brilliant new smile.

How to Care for Dental Veneers

Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Porcelain is quite a hard substance. Whereas the hardness of natural tooth enamel’ is ranked 5 on the Mohs scale, the hardness of porcelain is 7 – just harder than a steel nail. Even so, a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage a veneer’s polished surface, so take care only to use soft-bristled alternatives.

Avoid abrasive toothpaste. Additives such as calcium pyrophosphate, aluminum oxide, and even silica (the main ingredient in glass) are often added to toothpastes to help remove stains from teeth. A veneer, which is nonporous and designed specifically to resist staining, can gradually become damaged by these abrasive compounds. Exclusively use toothpastes that do not contain them!

Take steps to prevent gum disease. If you get periodontal disease after receiving veneers, it can cause your gums to recede and expose the base of the veneers, thus detracting from their appearance. This is why good oral hygiene is even more important when you have veneers. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, and receiving routine dental cleanings will help keep your gums healthy and protect your veneers!

Quit smoking. Cigarette smoke can’t stain veneers – but it can discolor the composite that bonds them to the underlying teeth. That can cause the edges of your teeth to appear brown. There are certainly other reasons to quit smoking, but you must at least do it for your veneers’ sake.

Don’t chew hard objects. Chewing on ice, fingernails, toothpicks, pens and pencils can cause your veneers to wear out prematurely. Likewise, grinding your teeth (bruxism) can also damage the porcelain veneers are made of. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, ask your dentist how wearing a mouth guard can help. Likewise, if you participate in any physical activities that could injure your mouth, a mouth guard can help prevent physical trauma from cracking your veneers.

Avoid foods and beverages that stain teeth. Veneers are intensely resistant to staining. The adhesive they are attached to, however, is not. If you would like to prevent dark lines from appearing around the edges of your veneers, do your best to avoid the following foods and drinks:

  • Tea

  • Wine

  • Cola

  • Juice

  • Coffee

  • Sports drinks

  • Tomato sauce

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Soy sauce

  • Berries

  • Citrus

  • Pomegranates

  • Candy

  • Grapes

  • Beets

  • Popsicles

  • Food coloring

  • Starchy foods

Avoid excessive alcohol. Alcohol will not damage the veneer itself, but it can weaken the composite that bonds it to the teeth. You don’t necessarily have to exercise temperance, but abstaining from excessive alcohol intake will help keep your veneers safely in place. Take care that mouthwashes typically contain alcohol as well, which is why you would be well advised to switch to an alcohol-free product after receiving your veneers.

Attend follow-up appointments. The vast majority of veneer procedures are total successes. If you’d like to do everything in your power to ensure yours becomes one of them, make certain to attend every follow-up appointment your dentist requests. They will inspect the margins of your veneers, check the health of the teeth beneath them, and ensure the composite bond is holding correctly. They will also keep your smile lustrous by removing stains from the surface of your veneers, as well as apply fluoride wherever it’s necessary.

If you live in the greater St. Cloud, MN area and would like to learn more about how you can get the best dental veneers, then we welcome you to contact Centrasota Dental today. Dr. Congdon and our team are always available to discuss our wide range of routine and cosmetic dentistry services!